“With this study, we want to get the data we need for the quality management of the development of this product at the destination level. We want to find out how users and service providers in cycling tourism perceive this tourist product, what motivates visitors to come, product satisfaction, and what facilities are missing,” explains the head of tourism in Istria County, Nada Prodan Mraković.
The Study includes users and the local population’s opinions and monitors cycling tourism’s impact on other activities and society.
The study’s value stands at 187,500 kuna, of which 150,000 kuna was approved from the Tourism Development Fund of the Ministry of Tourism and Sport. The Institute of Agriculture and Tourism in Poreč will prepare the study, which is expected to be completed this June.
When it comes to cycling tourism, the Parenzana bike-hiking trail is indispensable. In the past five years, Istria County, local self-government units, and the Ministry of Tourism invested 3,388,000 kuna in Parenzana’s arrangement, maintenance, and promotion.
Photo: Facebook Parenzana
In 2020, for example, a new lookout Brkač and protective wooden fences were installed on the Grožnjan bridge and the Pirelići overpass to increase the safety of drivers and pedestrians. Investments were made in lighting the Kalcini tunnel and general regular maintenance of the route (mowing, landscaping) was undertaken.
In cooperation with Hrvatske šume (Croatian forests), trees were planted on the rest areas and lookouts of Brkač and Rakotule. At the end of the year, for the first time, ten short videos of 15 seconds each were made to promote Parenzana.
In 2021, the emphasis will be placed on the maintenance of drainage canals, of which there are about fifty on Parenzana. Besides that, regular mowing and the upkeep of signposts, info tables, lookouts, WiFi points, and the promotional campaign on social media will continue.
The plan is also to shoot a dozen more short videos that would show off the additional content at Parenzana (gastronomy, cultural content). These activities will undoubtedly further improve but also popularise the former narrow-gauge railway which used to connect the ports of Trieste and Poreč during the 20th century. Its attractiveness is evidenced by the data on over 260,000 visitors in the past three years alone.